I am well aware that grapefruit beers are probably not the most manly beer someone could made but damn it I deserve a break from the heavy stuff! On tap I have a Dry Irish Stout, and am waiting to secondary a Chocolate Peanut Butter, California Steam Beer and a 10.6% Baltic Porter. I like grapefruit flavor so much that I am willing to brew an IPA (which I normally dislike).
Brewing a Grapefruit IPA
I went with Midwest’s Fresh Squished IPA because I was ordering a few other kits and I thought by the time I get around to brewing this kit it’ll be a nice change of pace from the heavier beers I had been drinking. My plan all along was to ditch the extract it came with and use fresh grapefruits in some way or form. Brew Partner, Bruschi, and I have had some terrible luck with liquid extracts. I am not sure if everyone feels the same way but the brews we have used (apple, lemon, and cherry) tasted fake. However, when I got the kit I was pretty shocked to find that the kit didn’t come with an extract. I did some research and found that the hops that the kit came with mimicked some of those flavors.
What are Citra Hops?
Citra Brand is a registered trademark used with HBC 394 cv special aroma hop variety developed by the Hop Breeding Company (a joint venture between John I. Haas, Inc. and Select Botanicals Group, LLC) and funded by Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, and Widmer Brothers breweries. It was released in 2007. Citra Brand hops have fairly high alpha acids and total oil contents with a low percentage of cohumulone content. Citra Brand hops imparts citrus (grapefruit) and tropical fruit characters to beer.
Very cool stuff! I had no idea there was this sort of science going on behind the scenes with hops,
Jason Perrault released Citra in 2007, and the craft beer scene has never been the same. Citra was first bred in 1990 by Gene Probasco of John I. Haas when he crossed two unnamed hop plants that yielded a new varietal with a “special aroma.” The cross, dubbed X-114 and known only by this simple moniker for years, had an extremely convoluted lineage that featured Hallertau Mittelfruh, US Tettnang, EK Goldings, Brewer’s Gold, and an unnamed varietal in its parentage (FTLH, 85). X-114was sampled out to a number of breweries before Widmer Brothers, Deschutes, and Sierra Nevada co-founded extended acreage in 2007.
The Widmer Brothers quickly produced a draft-only brew featuring the X-114 and scooped up a Gold Medal for it at the World Beer Cup of 2008. Sierra Nevada released their first bottled product featuring the product (Torpedo) in 2009 (ABB V.32 No. 5). At this point, Citra had been renamed by hop farmer Jason Perrault and was becoming available to more breweries as acreage began to grow
Citra’s organoleptic profile and chemical composition lend themselves overwhelmingly to aromatic and flavor additions, either pre-boil, boil or post-boil. Citra has very high myrcene (60-65%) content when compared to other hops and this helps account for its unique aromatic profile. Myrcene, one of the four major hop oils, is heavily associated with citrus (BYO, VOL.17, No. 1), and can also be found in mangos, lemongrass, verbana and grapefruit. Citra is also high in geraniol and linalool, two compounds known to biotransform to create citronellol. Citronellol is associated with the citrus and tropical notes that have become so prized by brewers and drinkers alike (ABB Vol. 34, No. 2).
Altering a Grapefruit Extract Beer Kit/Recipe
I like the idea of brewing a grapefruit beer with no grapefruit, but I also really like grapefruits, so we are going to have to turn up the volume a bit! I had some really good luck with lemon zest in a kolsch before, so I think I am going to use the same technique. Again, since I never wrote anything down in the past I am going to have to try and remember, and then google. I found an article about using the peel that sort of reminds me of what I did,
Start with 3 grapefruits for a 5 gallon batch (you see 6 in the images here because we’re currently working on a 10 gallon batch).
Begin by washing/scrubbing all of your grapefruits. This should go without saying since they’ll all be added to your beer. The vodka will help neutralize everything, but better safe than sorry.
Once your grapefruits are washed and rinsed, get out your potato peeler and begin peeling the grapefruits into your Tuperware.
Try to take wide pieces of the skin without going too deep. You do not want to get into the white, pithy part of the skin as this tends to have a tart bitterness.
Peel all but 1 grapefruit, leaving 1/2 to 1 whole grapefruit. For this final grapefruit, get out your lemon zester and zest the remaining skin into the Tuperware.
Once all of your grapefruits have been peeled and zested, bag them up put them in the fridge. You’ve now got a healthy breakfast for the next few days.
I don’t use any of the actual fruit in the beer, just the skin. I had talked to people who had used the meat of oranges, blood oranges and grapefruits in their secondary, but results seemed to be much more flavor than they preferred.
When adding grapefruit to our IPA, I was looking for grapefruit aroma and just a hint of flavor to complement the hops in the beer. Not the other way around. If I want to taste grapefruit, I’ll eat one. When adding it to the beer, I want subtlety.
Back to the task at hand, prepping the grapefruit peels.
With all the zest and peels in the Tuperware, fill it with enough vodka to submerge all of the grapefruit peels. I used about 6-8oz for our 10 gallon batch.
Put the lid on the Tuperware and give it a few good shakes, mixing the zest in with the thick peels. Then put it in the fridge and let it sit for 12-24 hours.
After the peels have soaked in the vodka, its time to add them to the secondary. I recommend doing this about 24-36 hours prior to kegging. Add the peels and vodka into your fermenter.
As with most new brews I am very excited to try this one out!
Brew Date: 3/23/2017
Secondary Date: 4/8/2017
Keg Date – 5/13/2017
I took a left turn on this beer and created a shandy!
Making a Grapefruit Shandy
I had full intentions of following the above instructions, until I didn’t. Instead, I took a left turn and decided to make a shandy. I can drink a nice 10%+ Porter with the next beer snob, but sometimes a light grapefruit flavored drink tastes fucking refreshing!
First thing I did was decide not to add the second 1oz bag of Mosiac Hops. I did, however, add the second 1oz of citra hops. Then I started googling some ideas and ended up finding something (can’t locate the reference) that talked about one gallon of pure grapefruit juice to 5 gallons of beer. I went with .75 of grapefruit juice for two reasons. One, I didn’t want it too tart, and two, my yield was a little less than 5 gallons.
I absolutely love it! If you like Leinenkugel’s Grapefruit Shandy and are looking to make a clone I couldn’t recommend what I did more. To be honest, I may like my extract version even more! I obviously do not know how they make theirs but mine absolutely has more hops so it tastes more like a deeper beer. In addition, my guess because of profit concerns they have to be using some type of grapefruit flavoring. No profit concern here! So I went went 100% grapefruit juice, tried and true, Ruby Red from Ocean Spray. When (not if) I make this beer again, I think I would go even fresher and use freshly squeezed grapefruits, because why the hell not?
Warning: This may seem obvious to people, but this beer was kegged not bottled. As such, I was not at all concerned about bottle bombs (that lesson was learned the hard way before this site was started).